Oct. 17, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermaker volleyball team (12-5, 5-3 Big Ten) could not pull off another upset Friday night, instead falling to No. 23 Wisconsin 3-1. The Badgers (13-5, 5-2 Big Ten) won the match by scores of 30-28, 30-19, 29-31 and 30-28.
Four Boilermakers recorded double figure kill tallies, led by redshirt sophomore Leah Wischmeier's 17. Freshman Melanie Ukovich posted 16, while juniors Kim Cappa and Kim McConaha each put down 12. McConaha finished the night with her eighth double-double of the season, adding 15 digs and eight blocks to the Purdue effort. Junior Daren Poe posted 16 digs to lead the team. Four Boilermakers contributed to the team's ace tally, with Renata Dargan, Ukovich and freshman Katie Dobson each registering a pair. Purdue out-blocked the Badgers 11 to 8 in the match.
Wisconsin took the early lead in game one at 7-4, but Purdue went on a 6-1 run including two Dobson aces to take a 13-10 lead. The teams then tied nine times until The Badgers went up 27-25 on a kill and a Purdue error, but then allowed the Boilermakers to go up 28-27 on a pair of UW miscues and a kill by Cappa. Another pair of errors and a Morgan Shields service ace gave Wisconsin the game at 30-28. The Boilermakers had four blocks in the game to none by the Badgers.
Game two saw Purdue in front early with a 5-2 lead. Trailing 6-4, the Badgers scored four straight to take the lead. The point-margin rose to six at 18-12, but kills by McConaha and Wischmeier cut it to four. Wisconsin then went on a 10-3 run to make it 28-17. Purdue held the Badgers off with a two-point run but a kill and an error gave Wisconsin the game at 30-19. UW hit .441 in the game to Purdue's .186 percentage.
"I was really proud of the way our team competed tonight," head coach Dave Shondell
said. "The first two games were not a good representation of the kind of volleyball we have been playing. I think it was a situation where for whatever reason our team was playing with pressure and playing for the outcome rather than just going out to play the game and have fun and that was evident in the way we played. After the break when we had a chance to address that in the locker room, our players came out like the team that we have seen for most of the Big Ten season. A break or two here or there or a heads up play here or there and this match could have turned the other way."
The Boilermakers turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead in a run that included an ace by Dargan. The lead expanded to five at 13-8 as four different Purdue players tallied kills. The Badgers cut the lead to two at 18-16 and eventually tied it up at 19. The Boilermakers bounced back to stretch the point-margin to four at 27-23. Wisconsin would not give up cutting the lead to one at 28-27. A McConaha kill set up Purdue's first game-point attempt, but back-to-back UW kills tied it at 29. A block by McConaha and Dargan and a kill by Wischmeier clinched the game at 31-29 for Purdue.
The Badgers started game four on a roll, tallying the first five points, before allowing Purdue on the board with a Wischmeier kill. The Boilermakers fought clawed their way to within one at 10-9, capped by a three-point run featuring a McConaha service ace. Wisconsin raised the point-margin to five at 19-14 including a 4-0 run. Trailing 21-16, Purdue rattled off four points, capitalizing on three Badger miscues to force a UW timeout at 21-20. Wisconsin made it a five-point game at 27-22, but the Boilermakers showed resiliency, cutting the margin to one at 27-24 on kills by Cappa, freshman Ukovich and Dobson. The Badgers tried for match point at 29-26, but a pair of Cappa kills kept the Boilermakers alive. A Jill Odenthal kill, her 14th of the night, ended the match with a 30-28 win for Wisconsin.
"We were right in the match against a very talented team that has a great tradition," Shondell said. "There is a reason they are ranked in the top 20 every year, because they put great athletes on the floor. That was the difference tonight. They are a good team and I hope our fans recognize that. This is a pretty good conference and we have surprised some teams early, but we are not going to emphasize the wins and losses. We competed hard and hung around to the very end."
With the loss, Purdue drops to 12-6, 5-3 in the Big Ten, while Wisconsin moved to 13-5 overall and 5-2 in conference play. The Boilermakers are back in action Friday, Oct. 24 when they take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign.